Health CS Mutahi Kagwe has disclosed how cartels are frustrating his clean up process in the ministry.
Kagwe had ordered 31 Health Ministry Officials to vacate office, in early May 2020, after his docket was put on the spotlight for alleged misappropriation of COVID-19 funds.
On Friday, June 5, CS Kagwe lamented that the cartels had resisted transfers to other dockets, making him resort to using forceful measures to execute the purge.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe unearthed this when he held a consultative meeting on COVID-19 response with officials from the ministry, the Kenya Healthcare Federation and CEOs from the Kenya Association of Private Hospitals at Afya House on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
“I have never seen this anywhere else. I do not think there is any other ministry that has encountered situations whereby individuals refuse to move until you physically send someone to assist them out. It’s a compelling situation,” Kagwe stated.
The CS vowed that he was hell-bent on seeing the changes take place, arguing that he would ensure the reforms were undertaken within stipulated legal frameworks.
“Restructure is an ongoing process and no resistance will stop it. The contract spells out where someone will work.
“You can be transferred anywhere or retire at 60 years. I assure you that all we are doing is within the contract of employment,” Kagwe affirmed.
He further raised concerns over individuals who were facing retirement and were part of the cartels. Kagwe reiterated that it was the government’s choice to retain them or ask them to retire.
“We have people in this ministry whom we have requested to stay on. The only person with the powers to do so is the employer,” he proclaimed.
The CS while addressing the media on Wednesday, May 27, disclosed that the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) was investigating fraud and embezzlement cases in his docket, and culprits would soon be apprehended.
“Just like any other sector or ministry, in this building, we have a fair share of criminals who use the name of the ministry to con Kenyans. Sometimes you will find people who have been around for 12 years. Why would such a person still want to cling to that office after staying for so many years? The only difference is that we are owning up and we are ready to deal with them.
“These are public officers who will call a businessman and tell them that they have got an order which they can help get him with a fake tender and that fake tender might even have a Ministry of Health logo because some criminal in here has issued it out. We will unearth them,” Kagwe declared.
Interior PS Karanja Kibicho revealed plans in the National Police Service that would require raising entry grades for new police recruits.
During an interview with a local radio station on Thursday, Kibicho disclosed that the docket targeted over 5,000 graduates in their first recruitment phase.
This move will change the views of Kenyans, who continuously associate the police service with failures.
“Procedures are in place that will ensure the police service isn’t a place where parents take children after failing the national examinations. During the next recruitment, most recruits will qualify as cadets. We need to reform our police service to meet the international standards,” explained Kibicho.
The minimum police entry grade currently stands at a D+ in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
Kibicho attributed all types of vices in the department, including corruption and extrajudicial killings as a result of miniature educational standards in the service.
Prior to his retirement, Joseph Boinnet, the former Inspector General of Police, proposed the force to employ a highly-skilled workforce.
Concurrently, the building of 83,269 new police officers’ houses and the introduction of a new curriculum coordinate administrative and regular police training.
Some of the targeted highly skilled workforces include engineers, financial analysts, IT experts, pilots, and doctors who’ll help the service to solve crimes of high caliber.
Specialists will join the services as superintendents, assistant superintendents, inspectors, and chief inspectors.
The police service has received numerous condemnations regarding corruption and extrajudicial killings. The latest involved the Independent Policing and Oversight Authority (IPOA) proposing the death of six police officers for extrajudicial killings.
Uhuru is no lame-duck President and he will fight tooth and nail to protect his legacy.
However, the political landscape in the country has reached fever pitch, more than two years before the next General Election.
Much of the political activity is happening in Parliament, where a purge targeting “rebel” jubilee MPs is taking place, days after a similar shake-up in Senate.
Granted, there is no doubt about the competence of the MPs targeted in the purge as some have fairly solid track records both in the political arena and in their previous jobs.
However, being in the ruling party, competence and track record are often pegged on the delivery of the President’s agenda. Nothing else.
Now, if the appointing authority does not see that competence reflected in the delivery of his development agenda, he owes it to the people who elected him to act.
You see, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reign will not be remembered for who chaired what committee or led the majority or minority in Parliament.
It will be remembered for the difference it will make in the lives of Kenyans.
This simply means that unless he has the right people in key positions, both in Parliament and in Cabinet, he will be shooting in the dark, especially if the people he trusts with pushing his agenda have other interests.
Let it not be lost on us that there is only one person to whom Kenyans bestowed their aspirations.
I mean no Governor, Senator or even MP got anywhere close to the overwhelmingly endorsement the President got to work for Kenyans.
Therefore, when the President charts a pathway to address the current and historical issues affecting Kenyans, you would expect all well-meaning legislators, especially those affiliated to Jubilee Party who campaigned with him on the same platform, to help the Head of State and his government to deliver.
Achievement of the president’s main agenda —the Big Four, fight against corruption and uniting Kenyans —has a domino effect.
No corner of this country will fail to realise the benefits of universal healthcare and not even one constituency will remain untouched if we realise growth in manufacturing, for instance, which will consequently boost job creation and expand the tax base.
But be it as it may, you cannot celebrate or even speculate on some of these unfolding political happenings and as Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka once said ‘A tiger doesn’t proclaim his tigritude, he pounces’.
We need to see action and an accelerated realization of the President’s agenda not just politics.
In fact, the onus is on Kenyans to focus on what the new political formations portend in addressing the plights of Kenyans which has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The centrality of the media for robust and incisive information on the new alignments and the president’s agenda cannot be gainsaid.
Many critics have talked about the increasingly blurred line between Opposition and government, but the crux today is constructive engagement and how the leadership and membership in Parliament address itself to issues that serve the interest of the citizens.
The media need to be at the crux of it all and it would be informative if spotlight is constructively focused on those who the President has privileged with key positions within ruling political formation.
Not just on how they serve the party interests, but on how they serve the leadership of this country.
And that does not in any way mean they need to be “yes” men. Not at all, they just need to deliver on making the lives of Kenyans better.
There is no better way to have themselves on the right side of history.
Kenyan politics is often depicted as a battle between different ethnic “Big Men” who can mobilise their supporters with a snap of their fingers.
A vicious war for the control of the Western Kenya voting bloc has erupted ahead of the 2022 succession epic battle for President.
Political bigwigs, strategists and influential opinion-shapers are fighting to win over the hearts and minds of the millions of voters from the Mulembe Nation – the Luhya community.
The leaders have been holding meetings, strategising and realigning to outdo each other in the battle that has since spilt over into the public arena.
According to the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census, the Luhya are the second most populous tribe with 6,823,842 people after the Kikuyu, which has 8,148,668 million people.
Despite the massive numbers instrumental in shaping the country’s leadership, the region has never united politically or had an outright kingpin since the days of former Vice President Kijana Wamalwa (1944-2003).
Political analyst Martin Andati says Wamalwa’s demise left the community in disarray as none of the leaders at the time was psychologically prepared to assume the mantle.
“The community also mourned Wamalwa for too long,” he said and needed to find a strong figure to replace him.
The lack of one acknowledged political leader has left the vote-rich region a free-for-all battleground, with ‘outsiders’ controlling a huge chunk of the votes in previous polls.
And, now, with the 2022 elections beckoning, politicians are in an all-out war to wrest the region away from others and into their own grasp.
Cracks are once again emerging among local leaders who talk of unity and the need for the Mulembe Nation to unite and play a significant role in government.
“We can’t come together [although] we come from the same region. We subscribe to different political ideals,” Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, a vocal supporter of DP William Ruto, said.
FORD KENYA WRANGLES
DP Ruto, ODM leader Raila Odinga, ANC boss Musalia Mudavadi, embattled, deposed but fighting back Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula are all playing cards to control the region.
A faction of the Ford Kenya party led by Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi and his Tongaren counterpart Eseli Simiyu, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and influential COTU boss Francis Atwoli are also fighting for a slice.
Raila has controlled the region for more than a decade, with residents overwhelmingly voting for him in the last three general elections – from 2007 to 2017.
However, his support now appears threatened as leaders from the region – Mudavadi, Wetang’ula and DP Ruto and his allies – are coalescing to lock him out.
Mudavadi – Raila’s chief campaigner in 2017 polls and running mate in 2007 – has become a fierce critic of the ODM leader and has blamed him and Atwoli for the wrangles currently witnessed in Wetang’ula’s Ford Kenya.
“…….. the mischief has been calculated at a number of meetings led by the leader of a NASA member party, whose objective is to destroy and dominate everyone politically. In this, they have been aided by COTU boss [Atwoli]…” he said last Sunday.
He has claimed that Raila was hell-bent on rocking parties and dividing leaders from the Western region for his selfish interests in 2022.
Andati observed that Mudavadi is trying to be his own man and shed the Raila association, thus, his intense criticism of the ODM boss.
“It took Musalia a long time to assert himself. That is what he is trying to do. Immediately when Wamalwa died, Musalia should have moved in and filled the void. The loss in 2002 devastated him,” Andati said.
The ANC leader, who has publicly declared his interest in the presidency, has been working round the clock to rally the region behind him.
He has assembled a solid campaign machine and set up an elaborate nerve centre – Musalia Mudavadi Centre on Riverside Drive in Westlands, Nairobi.
Last week, Atwoli hosted more than 40 leaders from the region – among them five Governors, Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa.
In an apparent effort to influence the region to support the handshake between Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta – ostensibly supporting a handshake candidate in 2022 – the leaders pledged to support cooperation between the two leaders.
In what was, even more, telling, the leaders picked Atwoli, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa as the Luhya nation’s spokespersons on political matters.
“These leaders will be negotiating with the national government on the development and other communities in forming a new transformative Kenya that is all-inclusive,” they said in a statement after the Atwoli meeting.
Atwoli is a strong supporter of the handshake and has been called a mouthpiece for the President and Raila.
He is a fierce critic of the Deputy President, William Ruto, and has openly advocated changing the Constitution to accommodate Uhuru when he retires in 2022, “as he is still young”.
Atwoli’s meeting could, therefore, be seen as an effort to rally the region to back the envisioned referendum and also rally Western voters behind Raila in the 2022 race for President.
Oparanya, on the other hand, is a Raila confidant and his presence in the meeting could be seen as preparing the ground for the ODM leader to maintain his grip on the area.
But fighting to control the region, Mudavadi and Wetang’ula snubbed the Atwoli meeting, immediately dismissing it as divisive.
They accused Atwoli of coercing leaders and the Western bloc to follow a particular political path against their wishes.
“What we are refusing is to be persuaded by a pistol on the table. We want to be persuaded by logic,” Mudavadi said in a meeting attended by DP Ruto’s ardent supporters, among others.
The meeting followed the removal of Wetang’ula as the Ford Kenya leader by a section of party officials led by Eseli Simiyu and Wafula Wamunyinyi. The latter was installed as the new Party Leader.
The ‘coup’ is reportedly part of the efforts to have the Lion party join the Uhuru-Raila handshake vehicle ahead of the referendum and the 2022 polls.
University don and political analyst Macharia Munene said Mudavadi and Wetang’ula are fighting to ring-fence their turfs from Atwoli, calling themselves the true representative of the region.
“Wetang’ula and Mudavadi are now willing to combine forces to fight for their positions which are threatened mainly by Atwoli as a proxy of some other forces,” he said.
The DP is also courting the region and has built a strong army of grassroots mobilisers and die-hard supporters – mostly MPs – to buttress his 2022 presidential bid.
The most vocal Ruto backers in Western are MPs Barasa (Kimilili), John Waluke (Sirisia), Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East) and Malulu Injendi (Malava) and former Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, the DP had made inroads in the former Western province, with regular visits, especially to Bungoma and Kakamega.
Between August 2017 and June last year, Ruto visited Bungoma nine times and Kakamega 13 times.
There is no doubt that the political fortunes of Deputy President William Ruto are dwindling.
This is evident in Rift Valley and Mt. Kenya, where some politicians are gleefully enjoying the onslaught on Dr Ruto’s camp as rivals cut him to size. Former Tetu MP Ndung’u Gethenji said Ruto deserves what was happening to him.
He recalled how Jubilee Party (JP) vice-chairman David Murathe publicly stated that the DP had a hand in the kicking out of Party Leaders aligned to President Uhuru Kenyatta in the party primaries.
“His (Murathe’s) statement as a JP leader confirmed the suspicions of leaders that the DP was behind our losses in the primaries,” said Mr. Gethenji.
The former MP said Ruto’s woes gave credence to the saying, “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword”.
Mwiti Kathara, who unsuccessfully vied for the South Imenti parliamentary seat on a Jubilee ticket, claimed that the election was rigged. He accused the party’s national office of collaborating with County officials to manipulate the results.
Former Maragua MP Elias Mbau voiced the frustrations of politicians who were victims of the Jubilee Party nominations fiasco.
Mr. Mbau claimed that a section of Mt. Kenya leaders lost their political bids after the national office interfered with the nominations.
“I am a victim. I was leading in the nomination but unfortunately the order to nullify the process came in. The repeat nomination was designed to ensure that only those in the right books got elected,” he said.
Others who lost in the nominations include Kembi Gitura who was eyeing Murang’a senatorship, Kabando wa Kabando who was vying for the Mukurweini parliamentary seat, William Kabogo in the Kiambu gubernatorial race and LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority director Karanja Mburu, among others.
In Rift Valley, Ruto’s political rivals have been meeting to scheme how they will benefit from the crisis in the ruling Jubilee Government.
Rivals of the DP are in talks with President Kenyatta to sign coalition agreements.
Former Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto’s Chama Cha Mashinani (CCM) is fine-tuning details of the coalition agreement before the signing scheduled to take place any time this week, according to the party’s chairperson, Mohamed Guleid.
Jubilee has sealed a coalition agreement with KANU, a development which has complicated the political matrix in the vote-rich Rift Valley.
“We are likely to see politicians who fell out with the DP coming together to try and reduce his influence in the region,” said Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama, adding that the Sunday meeting between Baringo Senator Gideon Moi and a section of Rift Valley leaders was just a tip of the iceberg.
Since 2013, residents and leaders had maintained that Rift Valley would automatically back Ruto’s 2022 presidential bid, but the latter’s relations with the President and the new coalition agreements seem to be working against the DP.
Ahead of the 2017 General Election, any leader opposed to Ruto faced hostility in Rift Valley. Analysts said the DP erred by fighting Gideon, Ruto, former MPs Henry Kosgey, Sally Kosgei, Zakayo Cheruiyot and other top politicians in the region who would have guided him.
Matters could get complicated for the DP in Rift Valley following developments of the former Bomet Governor who has maintained a studious silence since his humiliating defeat by the late Joyce Laboso.
In 2015, the former Governor, nicknamed Plogom (gumboots) by his constituents because of the time he spends on his farm looking after cattle, threatened to disrupt a fund raiser attended by the DP after he was heckled.
He has in the past accused the DP of belittling him in his backyard.
Having served as MP for six terms, former Tinderet MP Kosgey was ultimately humiliated in his bid for Nandi senatorship in 2013.
He was defeated by then political rookie and current Nandi Governor Stephen Sang.
Kosgey, who was then ODM chairman, was beaten by Sang who sailed through on the defunct United Republican Party (URP).
Dr. Kosgei, former Head of Civil Service who had won the Aldai parliamentary seat in 2007, lost to Cornelly Serem in 2013. She contested on ODM while Serem vied on a URP ticket.
Former powerful Internal Security Permanent Secretary Cheruiyot, who defied the DP and joined CCM to defend his Kuresoi South parliamentary seat, also lost.
At the height of the 2017 campaigns, Mr. Cheruiyot was criticized for defying Ruto.
Former Nakuru Deputy Governor Joseph Ruto, the then County Chief Officer for Education Joseph Tonui and then Nominated Senator Liza Chelule warned Cheruiyot that he would be “taught a lesson” for defying the DP.
The anti-Ruto brigade also accused him of disrespecting President Kenyatta and failing to heed calls to stop the early 2022 presidential campaigns.
“The DP has himself to blame for what is happening to him and his allies in Jubilee. He failed to read the signs on the wall and it is now payback time for him,” said Mr. Arama, who is in Kieleweke.
This comes at a time when Ruto is fighting to hold on to the Jubilee support in Central Kenya.
Allies of President Kenyatta have openly stated that the DP is not fit for State House.
Sources have revealed that at least three Governors, six MPs and five Senators in the region along with a Mombasa-based tycoon from North Rift back the CCM-Jubilee coalition talks.
Among those who have retreated from Ruto’s activities is the vocal Uasin Gishu Governor, Jackson Mandago.
“Time is up for the Deputy President. It’s time for a new political dispensation. KANU is firmly in Government and Gideon Moi is the man to watch,” he said.